By Raymund Antonio
Bureau of Customs officials on Tuesday inspected the 22 luxury vehicles, mostly high-end sports cars or “supercars,” under the agency’s custody to prove that they have not gone missing.
BOC Commissioner Isidro Lapeña presented to media himself the luxury vehicles, among which were McLaren, a Ferrari, and two units of Laborghini, at the Manila International Container Port to dispel doubts regarding what happened to these supercars.
Along with these, he also led the inspection of brand new Toyota Land Cruisers, a Rollls Royce Phantom, Range Rovers, two units of Chevrolet Camaro, and a Land Rover Evoque at the Manila port.
“There are questions being asked whether they are still here or not. We are showing it to them,” he told reporters.
The BOC chief explained these high-end vehicles were not destroyed like the others because they are subjects of ongoing litigation in the bureau.
The McLaren and other supercars in BOC custody were valued at P133.68 million.
Just last week, President Duterte witnessed the destruction of 20 illegally imported luxury vehicles worth P61 million at the Port Area, Manila. Ten other vehicles were also simultaneously destroyed in Cebu and Davao.
Lapeña said the consignees received the order of forfeiture on the remaining luxury vehicles on February 9.
“The importer has 15 days from receipt of decision to file an appeal. Otherwise, the BOC will proceed with the destruction of the smuggled vehicles,” the commissioner said.
Once an importer filed an appeal, he said the case will undergo appeal proceedings for two months before the MICP’s law division makes a decision to forfeit these luxury vehicles in favor of the government.
There were two importers who filed so far an appeal before the BOC.
Lapeña justified the destruction of the high-end vehicles, instead of auctioning them to potential buyers to generate the much-needed revenues.
He said the condemnation of these vehicles will send a strong message of the government’s efforts to crack down on smuggling activities.
“If they want to bring in luxury vehicles then they declare the proper value and pay the right revenues. That’s a long-term arrangement. It will become their doings to declare the correct value and the government will collect the correct revenues,” he said.